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Climate research at the Gardens

Recent visitors to the Gardens may have spotted small weather stations installed at various locations. These automatic weather stations are part of a new research project by Monash University PhD candidate (Charlie) Cho Kwong Charlie Lam. Charlie aims to demonstrate the importance of thermal comfort in urban planning, using Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens as case studies.

Thermal comfort is the condition of mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal (temperature) environment. Perceptions of thermal comfort are influenced by a range of cultural, physiological and psychological factors.

In short, Charlie's research aims to establish how different types of garden areas influence visitors thermal comfort during summer.

In order to understand visitors’ perceptions of thermal comfort in the Gardens, a total of 22 small automatic weather stations (11 at each site) will measure the temperature at both Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens from 18 December to March 2014. In addition, the five existing weather stations at Melbourne Gardens will also be used to support the study.

The resulting data will be compared to the results of visitor surveys at Cranbourne and Melbourne Gardens in January and February 2014 respectively, which will assess visitors’ self-reported levels of thermal comfort.

This research project will increase our understanding of the variability of temperature and thermal comfort at both Gardens. This information will be used to inform the Gardens’ landscape planning process into the future, particularly in light of rising temperatures associated with climate change.